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New WV Law Regarding Decedents’ Real Estate

On May 13, 2016, West Virginia Governor Early Ray Tomblin signed into law Senate Bill No. 702 which amends §44-8-1 of the Code of West Virginia dealing with the real estate of decedents.  Under this amended law, if a decedent devises the proceeds of the sale of real estate to certain individuals, but the real property is never sold, then those individuals entitled to the proceeds would automatically acquire title to the real estate upon the closing of decedent’s estate, absent contrary testamentary intent.  If the decedent’s estate is not closed, then title would vest with such individuals five years after the death of the testator.  Senate Bill No. 702 provides a title examiner with greater certainty in determining current ownership of decedents’ oil and gas property and will serve to reduce title risks to oil and gas companies in leasing or acquisition activities.